Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of Politicians and Airplanes

So this afternoon I am on an Airtran Airways flight from Milwaukee to Washington, DC. As we were boarding, we noticed a couple of Wisconsin Capitol Police officers at the end of the jetway. I was traveling with a group of teachers to a week-long study event with the Bill of Rights Institute, and remarked to a member of the group about the officers. Several members of our group stated that they hoped the governor wasn't on our flight.
I asked the flight attendant who was greeting passengers at the door of the aircraft about them, and she responded that the flight had a VIP on board. I looked towards the back of them plane, and who was there, five rows behind me, but our governor, Scott Walker (flying coach, not business or first class).
Now governor Walker has very few friends in public education thanks to his austerity measures, requiring all public employees to pay into their retirement and pay towards their health care. This is necessary, because the state is in the midst of a financial crisis which includes huge deficits and out of control spending.
He also is seeking to blunt the political power of the public employee unions by limiting their collective bargaining privileges, eliminating the requirement to be a part of the union, and no longer allowing union dues to be deducted from paychecks, requiring the union instead to collect the dues on their own. Unions are pretty big in Wisconsin, largely due to our long history of Wisconsin politics being strongly influenced by the Socialist Party.
As a public employee, I understand the angst felt by my colleagues about the loss of the union clout. They had been told repeatedly that the unions were the only things that stood between freedom and virtual slavery for workers. The leader of the largest state worker's union even referred to the governor as a plantation slave master.
I feel sorry for the governor. He wants to save the state from it's socialist roots, and create a dynamic, vibrant state with a business climate that will allow for growth that will sustain the people of Wisconsin for years to come.
I tip my hat to Governor Walker. First for being willing to make the tough decisions, and take the anger and venom of the public classes. Secondly, for practicing what he preaches. How often do you see a state's governor flying coach?

8^) Jim
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:33,000 feet up

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